Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (1958). Director: Edward Bernds.

Now classified as a "camp classic," Queen of Outer Space is simply a really awful movie. Being decked out in CinemaScope and Technicolor only makes its flaws more apparent. A spaceship in 1985 is hurled off course and lands on Venus, which is nothing like the way it's been described by scientists (no explanation is offered for this). Queen Yllana (Laurie Mitchell) has taken over the planet and banished the men whose war-mongering caused so much trouble, but she's just as bad. Zsa Zsa Gabor plays a scientist (yeah -- sure!) who is part of an underground conspiracy against the evil queen, and she and others help the earthmen to save their planet from a destructive blast from the queen's beta disintegrator. With costumes from Forbidden Planet (what an insult!), a plastic spider-prop from World Without End, and almost zero entertainment value, Queen of Outer Space isn't "so bad it's good"-- it's just bad. Slow pacing, a dumb script, and mediocre direction don't help. Some of the actors do the best they can -- Laurie Mitchell isn't bad -- but Zsa Zsa gives one of the worst performances by an actress in a professional (more or less) motion picture. Even Missile to the Moon (1959) and Fire Maidens of Outer Space (1955) were better than this! The bit with a deadly beam destroying a space station has some suspense to it even though the beam seems to come from a dozen different directions. A hilarious sequence has Gabor trying to imitate the queen as if none of the queen's guards would notice her accent!

Verdict: Not even the cheesecake and beefcake can save it. *.

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